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February 2, 2009 |

By Daniel Carlson | Lost Recaps | February 2, 2009 |

“Jughead” packs so many minor pleasures and discoveries into one episode it almost shouldn’t be legal. Written by Elizabeth Sarnoff and Paul Zbyszewski and directed by Rod Holcomb, the third episode of the fifth season of “Lost” was just as energetic and propulsive as the show can be at its peak, but it also wonderfully executed some smaller reveals and meetings that can only be done late in a series’ run, when characters are freighted with such backstory that seeing them meet (which on “Lost” can happen several times) or interact in new ways is as pleasing as it is exciting.

The episode opens with Desmond tearing ass through an island in the Philippines, shouting for help and looking for a man named Efren Salonga. He finds the man in a hut playing a frantic card game involving a lot of booze and money changing hands. Desmond bursts into the hut and the game stops dead when he calls out for Salonga. One of the men, pretty much identifying himself as Salonga by speaking up, asks who Desmond is, but Desmond replies, “Are you the doctor?” Next thing you know, the two are running back down a dock and onto Desmond and Penny’s boat. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” Desmond shouts over his shoulder. “Because there’s a lot of blood.” Salonga wants to know how much blood, but they’re already jumping below deck. Desmond calls out to Penny, who can be heard moaning in pain, telling her it’s going to okay. The camera pans to reveal a very pregnant Penny doing her best to keep calm while dealing with the reality of giving birth on a boat off the coast of a ratty island. I’m pegging the scene as happening pretty close to nine months after the Oceanic Six struck out for home, leaving Desmond and Penny looking for a way to occupy their hours at sea. Salonga slides a towel under Penny and gets a pair of forceps from his bag — this is apparently all he needs — and tells Penny to start pushing. She screams bloody murder and starts to shove, and before long Salonga rises up with a little boy in his arms. Desmond and Penny kiss as Salonga brings their son around and places him in Penny’s arms, and though the kid looks pretty disgusting at this point, Desmond and Penny seem pretty happy. Cut to a couple years later: Desmond is piloting the Searcher with a little boy on his lap, and as he points out across the water, he describes to his son that they’re looking at a “very special island” that Desmond left “a long time ago” and thought he’d never see again. There is absolutely no way they’re at Hell Island, and it doesn’t seem likely for Desmond to get so worked up and wistful about the Philippines, so it’s a safe bet they’re looking at Great Britain. Sure enough, that’s where they are. Desmond tells his boy about Scotland, “the most beautiful part of the island,” adding that that’s where he and Penny fell in love. Penny, who’s wandered above deck by now, chimes in, “That’s also where he broke her heart.” Way to kill a tender moment, Pen. Desmond said he wanted to leave that part out, and Penny comes back by saying he’s also skipped the part about Charles Widmore and the boat he sent to kill Desmond and the rest of his friends. Seriously, Penny sucks at story time. “We’ll be in and out,” Desmond says. “He’ll never know we’re here.” Desmond reminds Penny that he’s not here because of her father, but because of what Faraday told him in his newly discovered memory about how Desmond is the only one who can save the people still trapped on the island and bouncing through time.

Back on Hell Island, Faraday, Miles, Charlotte, and a couple of nameless extras are hiking through the jungle in hopes of meeting up at the creek with Sawyer and Juliet and whoever else might be left. Noticing Charlotte raise a hand to her temple, Faraday asks if she’s still got a headache, and she does. When he asks if she’s had any dizziness or double vision, she says yes but is not at all able to piece together why Faraday (a) knows her symptoms and (b) is therefore worried about her. Faraday tells her that he won’t let anything happen to her, going so far as to gently stroke her hair while he talks. Count this as the episode’s Blatant Foreshadowing. Something very good or very bad is going to happen to Faraday and Charlotte by the end of the hour. Maybe both. In the distance, Miles calls out, “We’re here!” Faraday and Charlotte walk down to see that Sawyer and Juliet are nowhere around, so Faraday suggests waiting to see if they show up. Miles, because he cannot help himself, says they could be dead, and Faraday finally steps up a little and says, “Miles, that kind of attitude: not exactly what we need right now. People are scared enough as it is.” Miles isn’t listening, though, but it’s not just because he’s a doucher. He’s noticed a tripwire running low to the ground right next to the creek, and he follows it with his eyes to see a set of mines planted in the bushes. He shouts for the nameless extras to hold still, but too late. One of them hits the wire, and a series of explosions blasts him and the other no-name dudes out into the water. At this point it looks like only Miles, Faraday, and Charlotte remain from their contingent that escaped the flaming arrow onslaught, which helps for narrative purposes since now we don’t have to pretend to keep up with nameless characters who were probably going to die anyway. Just then, a group of people in tank tops and fatigues emerge from the jungle, brandishing bows and arrows like they’re assault weapons, surrounding the trio of scientists. Then a blonde walks up with an actual rifle, demanding to know who’s in charge. She speaks with the same kind of clenched-jaw mannerism that Keamy did, as if she’s trying to do some really bad ventriloquist act or just afraid to move her mouth. I suspect this will get annoying soon. (Spoiler: I’m right!) Miles says that Faraday’s running the show, and the shot shifts briefly to a weird FPS view as the woman approaches Faraday and Charlotte. As she reaches Faraday, she cocks her head a little and says, “You just couldn’t stay away, could you?” Wait what now? Just how unstuck in time does Faraday become? How far back does he go? Why is this woman such a bad actor?

Back in the present, Desmond and Penny are having another awesomely passive-aggressive fight in the battle of wills over whether Desmond should be trying to find Faraday’s mom. (When Desmond asks if their son finished breakfast, Penny replies, “Yes. He gave me a bit of a fight, but he listens in the end, unlike his father.” Dude, Desmond, you have gained absolutely zero ground in three years of sailing around the world with your wife.) Desmond sighs and says all he has to do is find the old lady and relay to her that Faraday is still on Hell Island, at which point Desmond and Penny can shove off and be done with the whole mess. Penny not unreasonably wants to know why Desmond didn’t remember a years-old memory until just two days ago, but Desmond, not being privy to the fact that Faraday is bouncing through time, nor the larger whims of the series’ producers, simply says, “I don’t know. I don’t understand how any of this works any more than you do.” As Desmond kisses his wife goodbye and makes to leave, she asks him to promise that he’ll “never go back to that island again.” Desmond, no slouch in the moral equivocation department, replies, “Why in God’s name would I ever want to go back there?” Before Penny can call him on his non-denial denial, he turns and leaves.

Back on Hell Island, the bow and arrow people are hauling the corpses of some of the last Oceanic 815 survivors out of the water when the angry blonde accosts Faraday, her jaw clenching mightily the entire time. “There were 20 of you on the beach, but only five of you here. Where are the rest of your people?” Miles suggests that they might have been blown up by the mines, but Jenny Lockjaw replies, “We didn’t put them here, you did.” This misunderstanding will probably come back to haunt everyone. She repeats her question to Faraday, who says that he doesn’t know where the rest of his people could be. Meanwhile, in their part of the jungle, Sawyer, Juliet, and Locke are trying to figure out what to do with the two remaining soldiers who ambushed them. Examining the weapon they recovered, Locke announces it to be a .30-caliber M1 Garand that looks brand new, another minor piece that will help set the era of this particular stop on the castaways’ journey as sometime in the mid-1950s. Sawyer asks what happened to Locke’s leg, and Locke says he got shot. Sawyer naturally wants to know by whom, and Locke opens his mouth to probably tell him the truth — that it was Ethan Rom — when Juliet breaks in and says they should all get going if they want to meet up with the rest of the survivors at the creek. Sawyer agrees and then says that, since they don’t have any means of securing their prisoners, it’s time to shoot them. (Sawyer is increasingly not to be screwed with.) At this point, the soldier Cunningham, who’s been kneeling this whole time next to Jones, looking stalwart, leans over and speaks quietly to Jones in Latin. Jones silences him with a word, and Locke rises to his feet like he’s about to conduct his own interrogation, but Juliet again breaks in and speaks to Jones in Latin, then tells her fellow castaways that Cunningham had asked why they weren’t in uniform, and he’d done it in Latin. Locke asks, “How is it that they know how to speak Latin, Juliet?” She just shrugs and says, “The same reason I do. Because they’re Others.” This is a great reveal, one of the many in the episode, and it also goes a ways toward filling in the backstory of how some of the Others got to the island.

Meanwhile, Faraday, Charlotte, and Miles are being escorted by their own group of old-school Others through the jungle. Faraday notices one of the men’s hands are burned and bandaged. Miles, meanwhile, wigs out a little when his spider-sense goes off, which means he’s being bombarded with psychic information and is on the verge of being useful. He catches up to Faraday and tells him that they just marched over a fresh grave containing four U.S. soldiers who died about a month before. “Three of them were shot,” Miles says. “One died of radiation poisoning.” Faraday asks if any of the soldiers mentioned what year it was — because apparently in their moment of wailing for help across the spiritual plane they were supposed to work in some exposition — but Jenny Lockjaw cuts them off with, “We’re here.” The group emerges from the jungle into a clearing containing a few Army tents set up among some trees. They approach one of the tents, and out strolls Richard Alpert, looking as hale as the day he sold his soul to the devil. This guy has now officially looked the same for more than 50 years. The tight-lipped blonde gestures to Faraday and tells Richard he’s the one in charge. Richard asks for Faraday’s name, but wait a minute bub, Faraday’s gonna turn that one right around on you by asking for your name. Richard grins and says, “My name’s Richard Alpert. I assume you’ve come back for your bomb.” Faraday manages to hold a poker face when he hears this, but man, things are bound to get pretty hairy on the island before long now that people are just leaving explosives laying around.

Back in the present, Desmond is strolling across the Oxford campus, doing his best not to look like an old guy cruising for coeds. Checking with a woman in what’s either an admin office or a library, he finds that there’s no record of Faraday’s mother, nor of any Faraday having taught at Oxford. “I visited him,” Desmond counters, and he’s already starting to get that really insistent tone that will mark him as a nutjob if he’s not careful and starts telling people about time travel. The receptionist asks if Desmond can remember the year he last visited — that would be 1996 — but Desmond can’t recall. Unable to even provide a reason he’s looking for Faraday, Desmond gives up and walks away. He strolls over to the physics department, and he sees a few old covered boxes outside a door that’s been sealed shut and tagged with a warning about fumigation. Desmond breaks through to find himself in Faraday’s lab, the same one he used to conduct experiments on mice, and which Desmond was last in eleven years prior. Everything is boxed up, broken down, or covered with sheets. Desmond strides to the chalkboard and uncovers it, but it’s bare. Did Desmond actually think there would be a clue written there? He finds an old framed photo of Faraday and a pretty blonde, then proceeds to investigate (read: stare blankly at) Faraday’s equipment and the maze he taught Eloise the rat to run by sending her consciousness forward in time, which wound up killing her a day later. Just then a custodian walks in and says, “Yeah, I wouldn’t touch that.” This guy is instantly untrustworthy: quiet, creepy, kind of intimidating. And just to make sure Desmond is sufficiently freaked out, the janitor sets down a large toolbox and says, “I wondered when someone would figure out we weren’t just fumigating in here.” Holy shit Desmond you need to run. Instead, Desmond has a pleasant little conversation about the equipment. The janitor says he warned Desmond from touching the stuff because he had to take all the rats Faraday’d been putting through the maze down to the incinerator “so that no one would find out what he was up to.” When Desmond mentions Faraday by name, the janitor says Desmond isn’t the first one to come looking for the scientist. Desmond, who absolutely sucks at getting information, lets this go. The janitor jokes about the rumors concerning Faraday and his desire to send rats’ brains back in time, then steels up a little and tells Desmond he’ll forget about the busted lock if Desmond doesn’t tell anyone that there’s still remnants of Faraday’s equipment in the lab. Desmond, wisely not wanting to upset an eccentric man with access to power tools, says that sounds fair. Before he leaves, Desmond asks why the school has no record of Faraday teaching there. The janitor replies, “Can you blame them? I mean, after what he did to that poor girl?” Desmond asks the same question I shouted at my TV: “What girl?”

Back on the island, Miles, Charlotte, and Faraday are shoved into a tent, their hands still bound. Miles, who doesn’t remember his lecture about the importance of a positive outlook, says, “We are so dead.” You know what’s dead, Miles? Somebody’s sense of optimism and adventure. Faraday says they just need to hang tight until the next time flash, though he adds that that could happen in five minutes or 5,000 years. He tells the other two that the Others seem to think they’re with the U.S. military, and their best shot at survival is to let them keep believing it. There’s a nice parallel here with the necessity of a cover story being integral to escaping danger; first it was the Oceanic Six, now it’s the ones they left behind. Before Faraday can do any more planning, Richard walks in with Jenny Lockjaw — whose name is actually Ellie, which whatever, she should unclench a little — and a nameless other Other. Richard gets a little pissy and confronts Faraday again about where the rest of his “squad” is, but Faraday stonewalls and says Richard will just go kill them, too. Richard replies, “We didn’t start this, friend. Your people attacked us. You come to our island to run your tests, you fire on us, and what, you expect us not to defend ourselves?” Faraday doesn’t even miss a beat — he’s seriously the best liar-leader so far — and says he doesn’t know anything about that since he and his colleagues are just scientists. When prompted, Faraday adds that yes, they’re here to recover their hydrogen bomb, which based on the other Other’s bandaged hands has had its housing compromised. Charlotte and Miles look rightfully awed by the way Faraday is totally running the ground game. He tells Richard that he needs to be allowed to repair the unstable weapon or else everyone on the island is at risk. Richard asks how Faraday can prove he isn’t just on a suicide mission to detonate the bomb and wipe out the island’s inhabitants anyway. Faraday takes a moment and says, “Because I’m in love with the woman sitting next to me. And I would never do anything to hurt her.” Judging by the way Charlotte sits up, this is something of a discovery for her. Richard believes him and agrees to let Faraday go to disable the bomb. (Sidebar: Does anyone else remember Nestor Carbonell’s work on “Suddenly Susan,” and if so, does that make Richard Alpert more or less terrifying?)

Out in the jungle, Locke, Sawyer, and Juliet are marching with their two prisoners, Locke carrying the rifle and examining the compass he’s preparing to give to Richard Alpert in hopes it buys him some answers. Sawyer asks Juliet how she learned Latin, and she replied it’s “Others 101. Gotta learn Latin, it’s the language of the enlightened.” Sawyer smirks and says, “Enlightened my ass.” Juliet grins back. Oh man, these two are so totally gonna get it on, like trapped-in-a-bear-cage-with-fish-biscuits crazy. Locke tells Cunningham that he’d better start talking or else the rest of the survivors are going to be pretty upset to the guys who attacked them. Cunningham, not bothering with the Latin this time, says (in an American accent), “The rest of your people are either captured or dead.” Everyone stops walking as Locke turns to Cunningham and demands an explanation. Cunningham gestures at Sawyer and says, “That idiot shouted out, ‘Meet at the creek.’ … We sent a group after them.” Juliet stops Sawyer from attacking the young soldier and speaks to him in Latin, saying that she and her friends are not Cunningham’s enemies. She asks to be taken to their camp, even pleads a little, but Cunningham wants to know why. She asks if Richard Alpert is there, which unsettles Jones, who hasn’t said anything this whole time. Locke acts surprisingly dumb and says, “Did you just say Richard Alpert?” Juliet shushes him and asks again for Cunningham to lead them to the camp. “No one else has to die,” she says. Cunningham looks at Jones and thinks for a moment, then caves and begins giving directions to the Others’ camp. Jones, however, has his own ideas about nobody needing to die, and like a shot he slips over and snaps Cunningham’s neck before tearing ass into the jungle. “Shoot him!” Sawyer yells to Locke, but the older man hesitates as he raises the rifle and can’t bring himself to do it. Sawyer grabs the weapon and fires, but it’s too late; Jones is out of sight. Sawyer wheels and demands to know what the hell’s up with Locke, who just stands there and says he couldn’t shoot Jones because “he’s one of my people.” Locke is all about surviving, but he’s also not about to give up his role as the newly appointed leader of the Others, even if he has to bounce through time to do it.

In the present, Desmond is still in full-on Keith Mars mode, walking through a residential area and checking the numbers against a piece of paper that he presumably got from the eerie janitor. Finding the house he needs, he knocks and is met by a woman with short blonde hair wearing a Quikmart uniform. Desmond says he’s looking for Theresa Spencer, and the woman reveals herself to be Abigail, Theresa’s sister. Desmond asks if he can speak to Theresa, and Abigail’s slight shock at the request and the way she repeats it means that Theresa is either dead, in prison, or missing. Desmond says he got her name from Daniel Faraday, and Abigail repeats that name and gets a look like she’s going to punch something. She invites Desmond to come in, and though he’s wisely getting a little weirded out by his reception, he accepts the offer. Abigail leads Desmond to a room where he gasps to see Theresa — the blonde from Faraday’s photo — in a hospital bed, comatose and hooked up to a host of machines. She’s being spoon-fed by a male nurse who looks at Desmond like he’s the one that put Theresa in her state. Abigail seems surprised and not when she notices Desmond’s reaction and says, “He didn’t tell you, did he?” Desmond regains his composure and says no, he didn’t know. He asks if Theresa can hear them talking, but Abigail responds, “No, Theresa’s away right now.” She explains that sometimes Theresa wakes up and thinks she’s a little girl, or that she’s been talking to her father who died five years ago. Desmond doesn’t say anything, but you know he’s got to be reeling from the recognition of seeing another person whose consciousness skipped through time without the grounding benefit of a constant like Penny. This is how Minkowski died, and it’s what Faraday knows can happen. Desmond apologizes for intruding and turns to go, which causes Abigail to unleash more expository but helpful information about how Faraday left Theresa in her current condition and escaped to the States, “never to be heard from again.” But then the other shoe falls when Abigail says, “I seriously don’t know what we would’ve done if it hadn’t been for Mr. Widmore.” Abigail explains that Widmore was the one funding Faraday’s research, and when Faraday skipped town, Widmore stepped up and took responsibility for what had been left behind, going so far as to cover Theresa’s medical costs. “Everything here is due to Mr. Widmore, God bless him,” Abigail says. The beauty of this scene is the way it packs in several reveals that aren’t ultimately that surprising. After all, Faraday was on Widmore’s boat when it went to the island, so it’s not unreasonable to assume he had prior dealings with Widmore or even took money from him. Still, it hits Desmond hard to learn that the man he’s trying to save has been bankrolled by his wife’s scheming father, who’s either compassionate or shrewd by keeping Theresa under close watch.

Back on Hell Island, Miles, Charlotte, and Faraday are still in the tent. Miles is incredulous that there’s an H-bomb nearby, and Faraday explains that the U.S. government tested hydrogen bombs in the South Pacific. As Miles takes a walk near the flap, Charlotte tells Faraday with a nervous smile that he didn’t have to claim he loved her just to prove he wouldn’t detonate the bomb and wipe out the island. But Faraday’s come too far to back down. “I said what I said because I meant it, Charlotte,” he says, and the look of blooming happiness they share pretty much condemns them to ruin. How many couples survive there? Shannon got shot, Libby got shot, Jack and Kate and Sawyer got all tangled up, Jin got (maybe) blown out to sea. The island is rough on relationships, everyone. Before Faraday and Charlotte can say any more, Ellie walks back in, awkwardly shoving Miles aside like she’s still trying to remember the blocking for the scene as well as all the mean old lines she had to learn. She tells Faraday it’s time to go, and he promises Charlotte he’ll be back soon. And then, like Han Solo, he walks out, leaving Charlotte to shed a small tear of hope and light and all manner of good things that will probably be snuffed out prematurely.

Outside, Ellie takes Faraday over to Richard, who unties the scientist and starts to tell him the “truth.” Richard says, “A month ago, we found 18 members of an Army battalion right here in our jungle here, setting up this camp. We gave them the opportunity to leave the island peacefully. They weren’t willing to do that, so I was forced to kill them. All of them.” Faraday, though he probably appreciates Richard’s honesty, asks who “forced” him to do anything. (My mom would always say that when I told her I was forced to do something wrong. Damn parental logic.) Richard says that he follows a chain of command just as Faraday does. At this point, Jones comes sprinting into camp, prissily yelling out for Richard. He reports that he and Cunningham were surprised and outnumbered, but he managed to escape. Jones wants to know why Faraday is untied, and Richard says he’s going to help with their “problem.” Richard orders Ellie and Faraday to move out over Jones’ protests. Richard asks Jones if anyone could have followed him as he ran, and Jones’ douchily responds, “Their leader is some sodding old man. You think he can track me? You think he knows this island better than I do?” This is what’s known as hilarious irony.

Cut to Locke atop a nearby ridge, looking down at the camp below. It’s almost as if his skills as a tracker are in direct contrast to Jones’ expectations! Locke asks Juliet how she knew Richard would be here, and she says he’s “always been here.” She says he’s old, and it’s easy to agree; this guy is like the Highlander, if the Highlander wore slacks and maybe a little eyeliner. Locke says Richard was about to reveal how Locke can save everyone on the island when the last time flash hit. Sawyer strolls up and says, “I hate to bust up the ‘I’m an Other, you’re an Other’ reunion, but Faraday, the guy that’s actually gonna save us, is being death marched into the jungle right now.” Oh Sawyer, don’t be jealous. They’re both Others, but you know Juliet’s your baby. They look down to see Ellie walking Faraday off at gunpoint, like she’s afraid he might do something other than speak in a low plaintive voice about quantum mechanics. Locke wishes Sawyer and Juliet luck as he starts down the hill to finish his conversation with Richard. Sawyer warns that if Locke just rolls into camp, everyone’s gonna go crazy, but Locke just says, “Fair enough, I’ll give you ten minutes head start.” This is such a nice little character moment with Locke, reminiscent of the stubborn optimist of the first season.

Meanwhile, Ellie is still walking Faraday through the jungle, and she’s holding her rifle like she just had the prop slapped into her hands without being told how to look remotely real or threatening with it. Plus, still with the clenching. She tells Faraday to stop looking at her, and he apologizes for staring but says she looks like someone he used to know. Is she related to Theresa? Ellie accuses him of hitting on her after just declaring his love for Charlotte, but Faraday brushes it off. She stops walking and raises her rifle, telling Faraday through tiny clenched lips that she doesn’t believe a word he says. “You may have Richard fooled, you can’t really expect me to believe that you, a British woman and a Chinese man are all members of the United States military. Who are you and what are you doing on our island?” Faraday, ennobled by young love and the comfort that he’s one of the few people who knows exactly what’s happening, walks up to her and says, “You wanna know who I am? I am your best chance at disarming that bomb.” Faraday is like the new Jack: brown hair, lovelorn, prone to weeping. I’m digging it. Ellie tells him to go ahead and disarm it then, and he turns to see a large warhead hanging inside a wooden tower, swaying in the breeze.

Faraday scrambles up the wooden scaffolding and approaches the bomb — its name, “Jughead,” is painted on the side — while Ellie keeps a bead on him from the ground. “What are you doing up there?” she calls out. Apparently Ellie thinks it’s wise to shout at someone inspecting an unstable bomb. Faraday, showing more patience than is necessary, simply says, “I’m examining it.” He notices a spot toward the tip where the casing is cracked and corroded, which is all he needs to see to start scooting away and back down the ladder. He tells Ellie that they need to get away from the bomb since it’s unsafe, and she just points the rifle and again makes with the clenching and starts to warn Faraday about not trying anything. Faraday, finally ready to snap on the annoying girl, sarcastically says it would be “really inspired” to shoot him and let loose some rifle fire near a hydrogen bomb. Faraday says the bomb’s crack need to be filled with lead and that the bomb should be buried in concrete to prevent it from detonating. Ellie, who is beginning to cross the line from petulant to just clinically impaired, says she thought Faraday could disarm the bomb and that she doesn’t believe his remedy will work. She keeps shouting down his claims that they need to bury the bomb, and just when it looks like Faraday’s about to go Wayne Brady on her, he says, “Fifty years from now, this island is still here!” Ellie cocks her rifle and starts to really lose her cool, asking Faraday to explain himself, so he starts to tell her that he and his friends are from the future, and the island is still intact. “I’m not saying it’s perfectly fine,” he tells her, a great nod to the show at large, “but there hasn’t been any atomic blast, all right?” Just then, Sawyer pops out of the trees with his rifle pointed at Ellie, and he orders her to drop her gun. Juliet ambles into view with a machete, looking almost bored at what’s going on. Ellie lowers her rifle as Sawyer notices the precariously suspended bomb and utters this week’s “son of a bitch.” Ellie shoots Faraday a look and asks, “Are they from the future, too?” Sawyer is almost endearing when he scorns Faraday with a simple, “You told her?”

Back in the present, Desmond gets out of an elevator in an office building, breezes past a receptionist, and bursts into the quarters of one Charles Widmore. Widmore waves off the receptionist as well as the security guard who’s appeared out of nowhere, telling them that Desmond is a colleague. As soon as the men are alone, Desmond launches into the speech he was probably practicing on the walk over. He tells Widmore that he’s not there to answer any questions, only to find Faraday’s mother. Widmore tilts his head and leans back a little as he asks Desmond why he would assume Widmore knows where the woman is. Although Desmond could have pointed to Widmore’s sketchy body language, he instead goes with the fact that Widmore’s been funding Faraday for years, so surely the old man must know something “regarding his next of kin.” Widmore asks if Penny is at least safe, but Desmond just repeats his initial question. Widmore tells Desmond she’s in Los Angeles, then pulls out his address book and copies her info. “I suspect she won’t be pleased to see you,” Widmore says. “She’s a very private person.” Desmond can’t quite hide his confusion at having gotten what he needed so easily, but he eventually takes the paper and turns to go. Widmore stops him at the door and begs him to deliver whatever message he needs to but then “get out of this mess.” Widmore warns Desmond that he’ll be putting his life in danger, as well as Penny’s, by getting involved in something that goes back “many, many years.” He begs Desmond to return to wherever he’d been hiding. Desmond offers and empty thanks and strides out, letting the door bang off the frame.

Back on the island, Locke is doing his thing, and it’s great. Completely free of suspicion or fear, he briskly walks into camp calling out for Richard. His faith is so wonderfully on display here, and he never doubts that this is the way things have to be. The people in the camp start to close in, and Jones orders him not to move, but Locke politely dismisses him by repeating his need to find Richard. Jones cocks his weapon and raises it, ordering Locke to shut up just as Richard appears from between the tents. Locke bites back a small smile; he is clearly loving this time travel thing, especially as he gets to play it from all eras. Locke introduces himself, and though he seems to stumble just a little when Richard shows no recognition, Locke plays his trump card by saying, “Jacob sent me.” Richard stares at Locke closely, unsure of how this man would know that name, then orders Jones to put his gun down. Jones refuses, and Richard angrily comes around and knocks the weapon away and says, “Put the gun down, Widmore.” Now this is a sweet little moment. No huge sting, no explosion, just a beautiful little reveal built on character history. Locke turns around like he can’t believe what’s happening. “Your name is Widmore?” he asks the young man wearing the Jones uniform. “Charles Widmore?” Richard knows something’s up, but Widmore just sticks his chin out and says, “What’s it to you?” Locke gives a little smile and says, “Nothing. Nice to meet you.” This is such a great moment, not only because Locke is probably realizing that he passes on shooting the guy who would grow up to cause them so much grief. (Though if Faraday’s theory of general fate holds, Locke’s shot would’ve missed anyway.) Suddenly we know not just that Widmore wants the island, but that he’s been there, lived there, and is one of the original members of the Others and worked with Richard, an Other and one of the old-school Hostiles who fought DHARMA back in the day. Widmore just got even more interesting.

Back in the present, Desmond returns to the boat, where Penny is curled up on the couch with their son. They have an awkward little talk in which Desmond, reporting on his day, says that Faraday’s mom died a few years ago. Penny immediately calls him for lying, so now he’s got two problems. Desmond sticks with his lie for three seconds before admitting that the woman is in L.A., but he rushes to add that he knows the day was a mistake, and that he’s done with this stuff for good. Penny wants to know what happens when Desmond gets another new memory, but he tells her he’ll forget it. “You’re my life now,” he says, gesturing at her and the boy. “You and Charlie.” Oh man, right in the middle of the scene, a little reveal snuck in all quiet-like. They named their son after Charlie, without whom Desmond wouldn’t be alive. (He also shares his name with Penny’s father, but that’s a less pleasing coincidence.) Penny realizes that Desmond can’t forget the new things he’s learned, so she says she and Charlie are bound to go with Desmond to California. They hug, but there’s not a lot of comfort in it.

On the island, Locke and Richard are hanging out talking about the island. Richard is examining the compass his future self gave/gives Locke and attempting to get Locke’s story straight. Richard says he’s not sure what Locke wants to hear, and Locke says he wants to know how to get off the island. Richard tells him that’s “very privileged information” that doesn’t get passed out often. Locke says the future Richard told him he had something important to do off the island, and Locke also tells the current Richard that he (Locke, that is) is their leader. When Richard says they have a “very specific process” for selecting their leaders that starts at a “very, very young age,” Locke wants to know when they are. Richard tells him it’s 1954. Locke smiles a little and says his birthday is two years off: May 30, 1956. He invites Richard to come visit him in Tustin, California, if he doesn’t believe Locke’s story. The scene last season in which Richard shows Locke the compass now makes pretty much complete sense. Unfortunately for Locke, the high-pitched whining starts back up, meaning he and his fellow castaways are about to take another trip. He panics and pleads with Richard to tell him how to get off the island, but it’s too late: The flash hits, and when it recedes, Locke is standing in an empty clearing. The camp is gone, and Miles and Charlotte are standing off in the distance looking around in confusion. Sawyer, Juliet, and Faraday are nearby, and while Sawyer verifies that Juliet’s okay, Faraday excitedly sprints back over to Charlotte. They have a dorkily cute little reunion that not even Miles’ douchery can undo, but as Faraday undoes her restraints, she starts to stumble around, her face twisting a little in pain. She bleeds from her nose and pitches forward, hitting the ground as everyone else comes running over. Faraday shakes Charlotte and calls her name, but she’s unresponsive. He cradles her head against his neck as the episode cuts to black.

Overall, a great episode, especially in the way it spent time exclusively with the island castaways and Desmond’s reluctant re-entry into the world of Hell Island. Not one member of the Oceanic Six appeared this time around. The story cemented certain ideas (Richard’s visit to the boy Locke) while exploding others (Widmore’s history and true motivations). There’s no telling quite yet what will happen to Charlotte; everyone else seems fine, but Minkowski bled out and other crewmen on the Katana got murdery, so you never know how time traveling on the island will affect someone. But is there something special about Charlotte (or everyone else) that would cause her to react so negatively while the others don’t? This episode also showed more details of the history of the Others/Hostiles, like the way Alpert’s team killed the Army soldiers and salvaged their weapons, uniforms, and tents. But why does Faraday recognize Ellie? And is his mother Emily Hawking, the creepy old lady Ben talked to in the church? They’ve got similar beliefs about fate versus free will, but she seems so old. And how many other people have been snooping around Oxford looking for Faraday? And finally: Is Richard old enough to know who built the four-toed statue? Because that one could still use some explaining.

Daniel Carlson is the managing editor of Pajiba and a low-level employee at a Hollywood industry magazine. You can visit his blog, Slowly Going Bald.

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